Literary Festival



While London’s streets may not be paved with gold, there is a wealth of literary history round practically every corner.

Throughout October 2019 we will be again be staging Literary Footprints, the sixth running of our annual literary walks festival.

It is a unique and London-centric literary festival; like a walking book club, it takes people out onto the streets of London on guided walks researched, written and led by our experienced, professional guides.

Tina's T S Eliot walk at St Dunstan in the East You will get to see to where the novels and poems are set, where the authors’ inspiration was born and the avenues and alleyways, buildings and gardens their characters inhabit – places you might normally visit only in your imagination.

There will also be some of our favourite walks from previous years – walking the route Mrs Dalloway takes to buy flowers for her party, Tracing the Tudors in the real London of Wolf Hall, walks around Shakespeare’s London, Literary St Pancras, Sherlock Holmes walks and of course explore Charles Dickens London After Dark

Walks cost £12 each (£9 concessions) or you can buy a great value season ticket for £49 which will get you access to all the walks in the full  Footprints Literary Festival 2019 programme listed below.

Walks in October 2019

Harry Potter's Westminster
Sun, 20 Oct
Your guide: Jack Yeomanson
Description: Suitable for muggles and wizards alike a walk through Westminster to see the sites made famous in the Harry Potter films.
St. Pancras in Literature, Film and Drama
Sun, 20 Oct
Your guide: Alan Fortune
Description: Explore the St. Pancras lives of important figures like Mike Leigh, Mary Wollstonecraft, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Hardy and Paul Robeson.
Dickens in Clerkenwell and the City
Mon, 21 Oct
Your guide: Stephen Benton
Description: Dickens referenced many real London locations in his books and in this walk we shall see some of the places he used in Clerkenwell and the City. In particular we shall see a number of streets and alleys associated with one of his most famous novels Oliver Twist.
 Dodging the Blitz: Bloomsbury Second World War Novels
Mon, 21 Oct
Your guide: Oonagh Gay
Description: Graham Greene , Elizabeth Bowen and Pat Barker novels set in Bloomsbury in the blitz of second world war are brought to life.
Booklovers' St James's
Tue, 22 Oct
Your guide: Anthony Davis
Description: Literary highlights of St James’s from Samuel Pepys’s wig to Charles Dickens’s beard, Nell Gwyn’s oranges and Oscar Wilde’s cigarette, stories of bibliomaniacs, writers, booksellers and publishers. See buildings they lived in and places they knew. And even some old books from buildings we see!
Literary Soho
Tue, 22 Oct
Your guide: Alan Fortune
Description: Explore the lives of famous literary figures, like William Blake, Fanny Burney, George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, William Blake, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud.
The Diary of a Nobody - Mr Pooter's Victorian Holloway
Wed, 23 Oct
Your guide: Jane Parker
Description: This walk brings the Grossmiths’ satirical spoof diary to life. You’ll visit real places and hear about real people of that era whilst listening to amusing excerpts from Mr Pooter’s diary. You don’t need to have already read the book to enjoy this tour, but you’ll want to afterwards.
The Nether World: George Gissing's Clerkenwell
Wed, 23 Oct
Your guide: Jen Pedler
Description: Recapture the atmosphere of slum life in 1880s Clerkenwell by following in the footsteps of the characters vividly portrayed in George Gissing’s rather bleak novel The Nether World.
Echoes of Shakespeare
Thu, 24 Oct
Your guide: David Charnick
Description: Hear site-specific readings that evoke significant moments in the life and works of William Shakespeare – playwright, poet and Londoner.
Dickens After Dark:  In the Steps of the Night Walker
Thu, 24 Oct
Your guide: Mark Rowland
Description: Dickens said “But the streets of London, to be beheld in the very height of their glory, should be seen on a dark, dull, murky winter’s night…” Join me along the paths of his epic night walks to hear how his observations of the slumbering city inspired his legendary themes and characters.
Bethnal Green in So Many Words
Fri, 25 Oct
Your guide: David Charnick
Description: With readings from Iain Sinclair, George Orwell and others, this tour explores the rich story of Bethnal Green, one of crime and poverty, but also one of resilience and survival. Through their words we engage with the human currents of Bethnal Green and its unique flavour.
Conrad's The Secret Agent:Anarchism in Fitzrovia
Fri, 25 Oct
Your guide: Oonagh Gay
Description: Retrace the real events behind Conrad’s famous spy novel set in London
Mr Harris’s List : The Book that shocked London
Sat, 26 Oct
Your guide: Daniella King
Description: On today’s walk we will venture through the streets and piazzas of Covent Garden to discover the story of a very special book of the 18th Century.
Circles, Squares and Triangles - Virginia Woolf in Bloomsbury
Sat, 26 Oct
Your guide: Stephen Benton
Description: A walk through the Bloomsbury of Virginia Woolf
Lyrics and Limericks, Fantasy and Fraud
Sun, 27 Oct
Your guide: Jane Parker
Description: Poets and authors, playwrights and musicians, artists, diarists and thieves. A mixed bag showcasing the diverse and often innovative creative people who have lived and worked in the Holloway area. Plus a couple of infamous characters too.
The Diary of a Nobody - Mr Pooter's Victorian Holloway
Sun, 27 Oct
Your guide: Jane Parker
Description: This walk brings the Grossmiths’ satirical spoof diary to life. You’ll visit real places and hear about real people of that era whilst listening to amusing excerpts from Mr Pooter’s diary. You don’t need to have already read the book to enjoy this tour, but you’ll want to afterwards.
Mayfair's Bright Young Things
Mon, 28 Oct
Your guide: Jen Pedler
Description: A literary romp round Mayfair; the playground of the Bright Young Things in the 1920s. Hear how writers including Michael Arlen, Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh portrayed the era.
Made in Chelsea
Tue, 29 Oct
Your guide: Stephen Benton
Description: Hear about Artists and Writers, people like Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Mark Twain
The City by the Book
Wed, 30 Oct
Your guide: Jill Finch
Description: Charlotte Bronte loved it, Alexander Pope hated it. Known mainly as a place for money making and trade, the narrow alleyways of the City also gave birth to writers and poets. It either charmed or repelled its visitors and it has featured in and inspired books and poetry over the centuries. Jill’s walk from St Paul’s to Cornhill is awash with literary landmarks that might just surprise you.
Much Ado About Trading
Wed, 30 Oct
Your guide: David Charnick
Description: This tour explores aspects of trade in Shakespeare’s London and how it provided valuable material to him and to his fellow dramatists
Stuart's First Walk
Thu, 31 Oct
Your guide: Jen Pedler
Description: Follow in the footsteps of jaded tour guide Stuart London as he sets out to walk every street in the A-Z. A walk inspired by Geoff Nicholson’s 1997 Whitbread shortlisted novel ‘Bleeding London’.
Sherlock Holmes Goes East
Thu, 31 Oct
Your guide: Robin Rowles
Description: A further selection of anecdotes from the world’s first consulting detective.

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